New York Tales from Curious Borough Dwellers

026 : Maya Gat At Atlantic Ave and Henry Street, Brooklyn
Born 1980 in New York City. Maya Gat currently works as a teacher. Why New York? because whether or not she likes it, its home. She digs the following Gotham bits: an artist named Joseph who sells drawings in the A train subway station of space ships invading New York City; Inwood Forest; the graffitti on the buildings in Chinatown that you can see from the Q train; Empire Schezuan Sesame Chicken and Dumplings; and playing Journey on the jukebox of a dive bar called Rudy’s. She is, however, a bit miffed by When people push their way onto the subway before she can get out; when she looks around and notices how the concrete blocks outnumber the trees; when she gets so overwhelmed by the amount of life thats being lived here that she stays home and watches another episode of the Dog Whisperer; when she gets stuck walking through Times Square on a Friday night; and when she sees someone shouting at their kid that they're gonna smack them, or screaming racist comments at other people, or saying ludicrous things on their cellphones like "so here's what you do next time you get pulled over for drunk driving, put a penny in your mouth cause the copper confuses the alcohol detector or some shit" and she doesn't know what to say, but knows that it should be something. For more info on Maya Gat you should send an email or visit memyselfandstory.wordpress.com.

image: Kathy Behrenroth

“'Can I taste your vanilla?'”

I was dressed to impress. Literally. I had just started seeing this fella, and I suspected, from the story he told me on our first date of old drug habits formed due to back injuries received from a dominatrix ex-girlfriend who pushed him off a balcony out of enthusiasm for a threesome in which they were about to engage, that he was a tad racier than myself.

Actually, racy was understatement—but not a deterrent. In preparation for our second encounter I wore the sexiest shirt I could find: blue and backless, shaped into a “V,” pointing instructively toward my rear. The front was a loose-fitting shear fabric, providing ample room for bounce and suggestion. Coupled with sobering tweed pants and respectably low heels, I thought the suggestion was balanced—sexy enough to catch his attention, tame enough to communicate there wasn’t a price tag attached.

Apparently, I was wrong. The men of Brooklyn had a rather different opinion about my look. From my house to my destination, nearly every man I passed made a comment about my appearance, some incredibly creative, but all exceedingly objectifying. Growing up in New York City I know about catcalls, and in a twisted way I appreciate the occasional “Hey, beautiful.” But on this day, “Hey, beautiful” was a far cry from “Can I taste your vanilla?” which quickly degenerated into an onslaught of obscenities and overly graphic insinuations. By the time a car pulled along side me and drove at the rate of my gait with a man leaning out of the window hissing, “Baby, I wanna ride you all the way to where you’re goin’,” I could only shake my head in shame both for them and for me.

Comments were hitting me from all sides, that awful kissing sound, lips smacking, lips licking, shouts from passing cars: I was under attack and had to think fast. I scanned the intersection of Atlantic and Henry streets for some sort of solution. Across the way there was an apartment complex under construction, diagonally from me a row of brownstones, behind me a Sell it on eBay store alongside a bodega. I spent a moment pondering what I might be able to buy in a Sell it on eBay store that could resolve my predicament before I recalled that you couldn’t actually buy anything from a Sell it on eBay store (hence the sell-it-on-eBay concept)[1]. So I walked into the bodega.

I bought one item for one dollar there that transformed me from a completely objectified sexual object to an entirely non-noteworthy person. Perhaps instinct told me this item would help, although a comprehensive narrative about the state of sexuality, feminism and our society could have brought me to the same conclusion. Holding my purchase, I lost all semblance of sex appeal instantly. I paraded up and down that same street for over an hour (as my date turned out to be far from punctual).With my new magical power I waltzed in front of the same men who had made me feel so dirty and small with their titles for me and derogatory requests of me, and not one single man made one single comment about what potential ice cream flavor I might taste like, or my need for their company. One item for one dollar from a bodega and I was saved, rendered completely invisible to all those previously insatiable men, rescued by my choice to buy the fucking New York Times.

referenced works

  1. Shockingly, this particular sell-it-on-eBay store did not last.

location information


017That's when I knew I wanted to live in New York: in the midst of those fragile bralets and bodysuits.— Ling Ma

016The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice.— Tara Deal

015...my own talisman against the folly of my youth.— Andrea Jarrell

014Y'all in a band'r somethin'?— Abraham

013Perhaps it was the lanky teenager with the bright red book-bag that made me think I saw Adam.— Carrie Teicher

012I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH train like an insect.— Erin Fisher

011I glanced up to see another shape hit the sand.— Ken H. Judy

010Vibrating almost imperceptibly in the breeze like a woody tuning fork.— Rob Giampietro

009Then the jazz stopped and the radio said the war had started in the Middle East. — Roland Kelts

008Shirtless Boris Yeltsin’s skin reddens as he reads a book.— Michael Maiello

007Port Authority was there with open, non-judging arms.— Khoi Vinh

006His almost-loss was my almost- nonexistence.— Matthew Rand

005On the cold hard floor of the orphanage, I sang, longing for the day that they would come and rescue me.— Jen Egan

004He was a lawyer, after all.— Kristin Gardner

003The parking lot gate was open, and we ran in with the skateboard.— Lorraine Martindale

002We arrived on completely Russian streets, with Russian signs and a familiar rudeness.— Kseniya Melnik

001...the hourly clicking of Oxfords and high heels across the parking lot.— Tam Nomgum


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